Released: 2006, Poison Arrow Records
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
I knew this... Damn, I just somehow knew that the Finland´s exclusive ´horror metallers´ Domination Black might have well set their personal bar of musical creativeness and ambitiousness on an even higher level when they started their song writing process for their follow-up album, titled DARK LEGACY. The band´s debut album, FEARBRINGER, took me by a big surprise last year, being a perfect mixture of horror-oozing Heavy Metal which has been spiced up with slices of Thrash Metal in a good measure. Of course the band´s vocalist “The Sentinel” KILLgast did surprise me mostly by his excellent vocal performance on FEARBRINGER, reminding strongly of the same vocal registers of what Tim “Ripper” Owens and Rob Halford both have become known for over the years.
DARK LEGACY continues basically from the same deep and large footprints where Domination Black left off on FEARBRINGER, trusting in very catchy and well-crafted song structures where intriguing melodies and certain bombastic atmospheres play a majority of very strong roles, and where some punishing Thrash –riffs hit your neck like a bold from a crystal-clear sky. The biggest difference between the band´s debut record and their latest ´spine-splitter´ is the band´s interest and determination to dive in darker, heavier and more Thrash-orientated waters than ever before. And that experiment in snorkeling in those waters has turned very successful and favorable for them; DARK LEGACY sounds absolutely pummeling, and I never would have believed they would be able to top FEARBRINGER, but in fact, they honestly did.
DARK LEGACY is a quite vicious 11-headed monster of a follow-up release from the D.B. –camp that hasn´t forgotten to pay a great homage to a brain-slaying traditional Heavy Metal that has been bathed in horror elements, and baptized by a lethal enough dose of Thrash Metal that make this album such an enjoyable and just mind-blowing listening experience. It´s of course hard to tell what made them to sail toward those darker and heavier musical territories with the songs on DARK LEGACY, but that particular brave crusade has paid off for them very nicely anyway. Obviously the guys of Domination Black have always been huge Thrash –fans, and but all those Thrash –influences have just lately burst into bloom in the songs on DARK LEGACY.
The albums kicks off with a short instrumental song “Enter the Dark Legacy”, followed soon by “Follow the Fear” which is a damn fine, mid-paced, straight-forward and melodic opener for DARK LEGACY, uniting some of Heavy Metal´s finest elements together – just an excellent opening song thoroughly for DARK LEGACY. “Scavenger of Evil” follows next – and that´s the moment where some strong Thrash –elements start crawling in, and eventually dominating the songs. The main riff in “S.o.E.” is just heavier than a hunter´s wet leather boots, and Mr. KILLgast´s brilliant yet evil, ´The Ripper-ish´ vocal performance makes a perfect company to the song´s mean-sounding ingredients.
“Ghost of the Nightfall” is kind of Iced Earth-ish song, counting on very strong melody lines while at the same time, giving a good kick under your belly area by its occasional Thrash –moments, and overall offering a perfect blend of both Heavy – and Thrash Metal elements to listeners with cultivated enough ears for this type of metal ceremonies.
“Dark Waters Dreams” sounds familiar... and why not, the song was originally called “Crystal Lake” off of the band´s legendary FEAR RE-LOADED demo that landed a recording deal for them with their current Poison Arrow Records. Now the song has just been re-titled and carrying the “Dark Waters Dreams” title in case you were wondering... However, compared to the demo version, the album version has got a slightly heavier (thrashier) approach, and unfortunately those high-pitched screams (ála the Harford –style) of Mr. KILLgast are missing completely, which is kind of a shame as he did them so well on their FEAR RE-LOADED demo. Dunno, maybe he had his reasons to leave them out from the album version.
“What Lies Beneath”, is also kind of full-speed-head type of song structure-wise, having a plenty of elements again that lick things on a bit thrashier side, bringing some somehow familiar Anthrax/Death Angel –type fat ´moshing riffs´ to my mind. As a more detailed note, the lead work in this tune is all the way very good, too.
Then we are introduced to this sort of a semi-ballad song, “The Cemetary”, which allows Mr. KILLgast to use his whole scale of voices, from those very Halford´ish vocal parts to raspier vocalism, creating a very nice blend of contrasts to the song. I could somewhat easily predict some radio rotation for this particular song in my mind already, oh yes... ;o)
“Phantom Light” turns out to be kind of a mellow, but still somewhat mean sounding tune, offering its Priest´ish vibes with a more ´thrash-tastic´ icing. It actually sticks into drug-infested brain way better than a gum to your messy hair.
On “Two-faced Devil” all hell breaks loose again as Domination Black seems to be in a good Thrash –mood in this track – should I add, once again... The riffing is a pure Thrash –fest from start to end, and therefore it could rightfully be proclaimed “Two-faced Devil” is the vilest and ugliest D.B. –camp´s own ´tour-de-force they have composed during their career so far – even beating their "Ultra-speed Destruction” from the debut album in aggressiveness and in brutality.
As the title of next song already suggests, in “Nightmare World”, at first we are thrown into the world of nightmares by extremely heavy, opening ´in-yer-fuckin´-face-Thrash´ -riffs ´til the journey continues toward the bottomless darkness where no sign of hope can be found from. Ha, wouldn´t wonder a second if “Nightmare World” leads one to believe this song could be one of those songs from the high priests of Heavy Metal after getting an overdose of some serious lessons in Thrash Metal. If that´s something you´d like to believe, too - well, feel free to do so then because I don´t feel like kidding here a bit... seriously.
So, what have we got here as kind of ´summa-summarum´ then? One of the greatest and most convincing metal albums of 2006? Probably... who knows. Guess that depends on a couple of things: You need to like both Priest and Thrash Metal, then the answer is: Abso-fuckin´-lutely YES! And just like one of my favorite Exciter -tracks is called, DARK LEGACY is a ´pounding metal´ in its finest form, so don´t miss this out by any chance! Do you hear me, you fuckin´ wussies...!!